Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The cross - the lone solution to the problem of evil

WHY CHRISTIANITY ALONE CAN ADDRESS GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL            We have been exploring the problem of evil and the Sovereignty of God in these past few blogs.  Though no one has a comprehensive answer as to how evil could arise when God is both infinitely good and powerful enough to have prevented it, yet Christianity alone can effectively explain why God uses it for His purposes.  Unlike all other worldviews, Christianity has the one event where evil was effectively dealt with - the cross.  The cross reminds us that God did do something about the problem of evil.  Whenever people question the goodness and power of God, I take them to the cross.  Whenever the problem of evil becomes overwhelming, I point people to the cross.  Only at the cross did the most unimaginable evil get addressed by the infinite depths of Divine love.

           Since we have looked at this issue as it played out in the angelic realm, we now can consider how this issue impacts the human realm.
The one thing we must remember about the problem of evil is that no one can ultimately and completely understand how all of this fits together. All we can really do is say what took place, second, that all good is from God and all evil is done by creatures and thirdly, this all works together to accomplish God's good purposes.

JUDAS CHOSE TO BETRAY CHRIST           Case in point, Judas was predicted to be the betrayer of Christ (Psalm 69:25). Clearly God willed it to happen, since nothing occurs outside his will. We also know that Judas was responsible for his actions. We have these two truths of scripture. We also know that if Judas had not betrayed Christ, the events leading to the cross would had never taken place, thus no salvation, thus no glory to God.

WE CANNOT HARMONIZE GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY, SINCE BOTH ARE TAUGHT          Acts 2:23 says on the one hand that Christ was delivered up by the determined will of God, yet in the same verse we read He was crucified by wicked men. Which is it? The answer, both. All we can say is this:
1. God willed evil (that is, in His permissive will)
2. God also created creatures with moral responsibility
3. God wills the means (activity of creatures, both good and bad) as well as the ends (His glory) to bring about whatsoever comes to pass (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:36).

ILLUSTRATING WHAT I HAVE SAID ON THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AND GOD'S SOVEREIGN WILL: DIAMOND RINGS AND DARK CLOTHES    When I was getting ready to ask Debi to be my wife, I went to the Jeweler to look at engagement rings. The Jeweler brought out a dark piece of cloth. Now did I want the cloth? No. Then the Jeweler brought out some rings. Now they did shine, but was I able to see their beauty completely? Well, no not really. The cloth and the diamond are two completely different things. The diamond is a diamond, whether I see it or not. The dark cloth is completely useless and undesired by me. However, the Jeweler took the ring and placed it on the cloth. Wow! Did that ring ever pop out!              
    Romans 3:5-6 states - If our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengence (I speak as a man) 3:6 "God forbid: For then how shall God judge the world?" How is it that someone came up with idea of putting together a dark cloth and a diamond ring as a means of making the diamond more desireable to the onlooker? I don't know. Likewise, how is it that God could will evil and suffering in His plan to offset His unending glory? There again, I don't know. All I know is that a dark cloth in the background of a diamond ring worked and made me desire the ring. 
Only when we come to the cross can the problem of evil begin to make sense as a part of God's overall Sovereign plan.  I pray these series of blogs have proven helpful to you, dear reader.  As always, I welcome any comments.  May God richly bless you as you aim to grow in the grace of Christ.